Tag Archives: Arlen L. Chitwood

Chitwood avows theory that blacks, other races are cursed

Months after it was reported that a prominent teacher of the “Word of the Kingdom” edited and endorsed a book promoting segregation, Arlen L. Chitwood has published two pamphlets affirming that blacks and other races from the “southern parts” of the world are cursed. Maintaining that “racism is not even remotely connected” with the teaching, Chitwood omitted to explain his role in publishing Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, a 1981 book that stated that blacks and whites should not integrate.[pullquote] [God] took the sons of Ham, of whom are the servile nations, and he scattered them across the southern part of the earth, from the equator on.” — A. Edwin Wilson (1977)[/pullquote]

Apparently unconcerned to distinguish his beliefs from those of his spiritual predecessor, A. Edwin Wilson, Chitwood repeated his assertion that curses and blessings pronounced by Noah over his progeny (cf. Gen. 9:24-27) constituted “prophecies” that remain effectual in this current generation. He did not explain how his interpretation of the so-called “Hamitic curse,” the age-old theory that blacks and other races should serve the dominent races (especially whites), is substantively different from interpretations that Chitwood acknowledges “have been used in a perverted manner to teach and foster racism.” Nor did the state whether Wilson used the Hamitic curse in a “perverted manner.”

In the introduction to Selected Writings, Chitwood wrote that Wilson was “pre-eminently qualified” to write on the subjects contained in the 1981 book. Chitwood has never disavowed Wilson on segregation, despite repeated inquiries from KingdomExclusion.com.

Chitwood’s pamphlets, “Sons of Noah, pt. 1″ and Sons of Noah, pt. 2,” are published here: http://lampbroadcast.org/PAMPHLETS.HTML.

Continue reading Chitwood avows theory that blacks, other races are cursed

Kingdom believer yanks Wilson’s book over race controversy

Radio broadcaster Arlen Banks has removed A. Edwin Wilson’s controversial book from his website, months after it was revealed that the late preacher promoted segregation during his decades-long ministry.

At TheKingdomoftheHeavens.org, Banks had been offering an electronic version of Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, a book edited by Arlen L. Chitwood, and published by Schoettle Publishing Company in 1981. In those writings, Wilson criticized desegregation, calling it a work of Satan. In several sermons in the 1970s, he proclaimed that blacks were cursed, that Ham violated Noah because he was black, and that integration offended God.[pullquote]I disagree with Wilson’s speculation of Ham being black, but he was entitled to his opinion, whether it was wrong or right.”[/pullquote]

Chitwood removed the book from his website, LampBroadcast.org, in December, but he did not disavow Wilson’s racial theories. Instead, he insisted that Wilson held the correct interpretation of the Bible.

Writing in the forum at KingdomExclusion.com, Banks stated, “I disagree with Wilson’s speculation of Ham being black, but he was entitled to his opinion, whether it was wrong or right.”

Banks has not publicly disavowed Wilson’s racial theories, but indicated by e-mail that he did not approve of them. He still offers links to sites promoting Wilson’s book.

In the mid-1900s, Wilson formulated a doctrine which he called the “Word of the Kingdom,” which maintains that some aspects of salvation are conditional. Chitwood and several “Cornerstone” churches continue to advance this teaching.

Kingdom believer claims to be unsaved

Quite extraordinary things pour forth from the pen of Arlen L. Chitwood, such as the claim that he is not ultimately saved. In an almost confessional tone, he claims his soul is at war with his spirit, that darkness pervades his being. He asserts positively that his body is in partnership with Belial (or Satan). His redeemed spirit, confesses Chitwood, is in a constant struggle with his unredeemed soul.[1. Salvation of the Soul, the Saving of the Life, p. 47] By yielding of his own volition to the Holy Spirit, Chitwood says he hopes to win the salvation of his soul. Except that God has placed a division between his spirit and his soul, he would be entirely corrupt.

“The first thing which God does for man is to place light alongside the previously existing darkness — place a new nature alongside the old nature, a new man alongside the old man — with a division established between the two (cf. Heb. 4:12),” claims Chitwood.[2. ibid.. Actually, Hebrews 4:12 does not state that there is a division between the soul and spirit, but rather that there is a division between the soul and spirit (non-material aspects of a human) and joints and marrow (material aspects of a human). This misreading of scripture, however, is necessary for sustaining the teaching Chitwood calls the “Word of the Kingdom.”]

Thus, an unredeemed body houses his redeemed spirit — light and darkness coexisting in one being.

Whether or not his soul is ultimately saved, depends on his willingness to allow the Holy Spirit to control his life. By yielding to one Chitwood calls the “spiritual man,” he claims he can gain “control over his emotions, feelings, and desires,” and thus realize the salvation of his soul, and thus attain full salvation.[3. ibid., p. 13]

This same fate he consigns to all Christians: apostles and martyrs, prophets and elders, ordinary Christians and the persecuted. No man, reckons Chitwood, is entirely saved, not Paul, not James, not Peter. No Christian reading these words can claim to be fully saved, nor can any Christian claim to be saved unconditionally. Unconditional salvation applies to ones spirit only; ones body and soul are saved conditionally, and this is determined by works.[4. ibid.]

These are, indeed, extraordinary beliefs.

Fortunately, they are not found in the Bible.

————————

“The Sons of Noah,” by A. Edwin Wilson

The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson was first published in 1981, while the author was still alive. A publisher’s note states: “All material in this book can be quoted in part or in whole — reproduction is encouraged as there is no copyright” (emphasis in the original). Selected portions are offered here at KingdomExclusion.com so that the reader might decide for himself or herself the moral rectitude of the content.

Comments for this entry are closed. You may post reflections in the discussion forum.

KingdomExclusion.com’s position on this material has already been stated. See previous entries.

Notice to the reader: The following contains pro-segregationist theology.

Continue reading “The Sons of Noah,” by A. Edwin Wilson

Summary of information on A. Edwin Wilson

Information came flooding in this week concerning A. Edwin Wilson’s views on race. Several articles were posted here. This is a recap of that information.

Race hatred and the “Word of the Kingdom” — This was the initial article on the subject describing Wilson’s segregationist views. It was noted that Arlen L. Chitwood of LampBroadcast.org compiled and edited Wilson’s writings, and offered them on his website. Subsequently, Chitwood pulled Wilson’s book, which was offered in electronic form. In chapter 15, “The Sons of Noah,” Wilson claimed civil rights was a work of Satan. He wrote that blacks and whites should not mix. Chitwood has not disavowed Wilson’s racial theories.

Wilson and Chitwood are founders of a teaching called the “Word of the Kingdom,” a doctrine which holds that salvation is partly conditional.

Chitwood pulls controversial book from LampBroadcast.org — Shortly after the above-mentioned article was published, Chitwood had his son, John Chitwood, remove Wilson’s book and other files that had been “orphaned” on the site. Again, Chitwood did not disavow Wilson’s statements on race. Arlen Banks, a visitor to this site, subsequently announced that he offers the book on his website (press here), where it has been available for the past year.

Are black people cursed? — For the purpose of starting discussion, I posted a link to an article by Tony Evans, who discusses the “Hamitic curse.” Evans, an African American and, according to one visitor of this site, an exclusionist, describes his understanding of the curse. The discussion is lively, particularly after the first ten comments.

Publisher declines comment on Wilson’s bookThe Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson is offered in print by Schoettle Publishing Company. Asked to comment on the book, the publisher declined.

Chitwood and others respond to Wilson’s racial diatribe — This article contains comments from the leadership of two “Word of the Kingdom” churches that promote the works of Chitwood or Wilson, or both. It also contains Chitwood’s avowal of the “Hamitic curse.”

The day Billy Graham did the unthinkable — Wilson’s published tirade was sparked by an article published by Billy Graham in 1954, disavowing segregation in the church. This article outlines Graham’s decision to integrate his crusades.

Contemporary readings on the Hamitic curse — Most readers are probably unaware of the so-called “Curse of Canaan” or “Hamitic curse.” Links posted in this article provide an explanation.

Chitwood and others respond to Wilson’s racial diatribe

After posting “Race hatred and the ‘Word of the Kingdom,'” inquiries were sent to churches and organizations that promote LampBroadcast.org, a ministry that had published a book condemning desegregation. Some never replied back. Others offered “no comment.” Some expressed disapproval.

In The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, edited and compiled by Arlen Chitwood of LampBroadcast.org, the late A. Edwin Wilson had written, “Integration, of which we hear so much today, is an effort to take two or more parts and fuse them into one, to integrate the colored race and white race through marriage, amalgamation, and assimilation, and to reduce the two groups (colored and white) to one group. Anyone who knows God’s plan and purpose concerning the human race can see the hand of Satan behind all this.”

This diatribe is found in chapter 15, “The Sons of Noah.”

A pastor responds to inquiries

Pastor John Herbert of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, disavowed Wilson’s position on race. “I would not adhere to that under any circumstances,” he said in a telephone interview. He added that he would not “dismiss” the other material in the book, which he called “excellent.”

Herbert was sought for comment given Cornerstone’s relationship with Chitwood, who is a regular speaker at conferences the church sponsors.

Herbert explained that Wilson’s views on race were unfortunate but reflected his times. He emphasized that Wilson’s views were not accepted at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship. “We have no racial biases whatsoever,” he repeated, adding that the congregation is mixed and that it conducts regular missions trips to Kenya.

“At Cornerstone Christian Fellowship there is no instance whatsoever where you would see racial intolerance,” he said.

Non-response and vexation

No other person, group or organization queried offered comment. Schoettle Publishing Company, which sells Wilson’s book, referred KingdomExclusion.com back to Chitwood (see story). Others asked to be removed from a supposed mailing list.

The leadership at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Los Gatos, California, never answered, but posted a response on their church website. In “Guilty by Association,” an unnamed author stated that he (or she) believes the church would not be given fair treatment by KingdomExclusion.com. The author went on to say that the church disagreed with most of “The Sons of Noah,” but “not all of it.” The author did not explain which parts the church approved, but said it disavowed statements affirming racial segregation “because the Bible doesn’t affirm it.”

Is anyone cursed?

Regarding the underlying assumption of Wilson’s race theory, however, there has been no negative comment.

Wilson derived his position from a theological construct called the “Hamitic curse,” the idea that a race of people descended from Ham is under a curse (cf. Gen. 9). As the theory goes, this curse will be valid until Christ reigns in the millennial kingdom. The “Hamitic curse” has long been condemned as derogatory and racist, and Pastor Tony Evans has written an instructive article on the subject (here).

John Herbert of Conerstone Christian Fellowship offered no comment on the subject, saying he would have to study the matter first. However, he did offer that “people in the Lord Jesus Christ cannot be under a curse,” whereas the unsaved are under a curse of sin and death already.

The Californian extension of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship offered the following regarding the possibility that a race of people is under a curse: “Don’t know. The Bible doesn’t tell us. The Bible’s genealogies don’t carry into the present day.”

Chitwood speaks

Chitwood, for his part, steadfastly affirms the “Hamitic curse,” though he now refuses to state which groups comprise this designation. Previously, he stated the curse, “of necessity,” remains in effect, explaining that this would “reflect A. Edwin Wilson’s position, my position, and the position of anyone who takes the Bible at face value and believes it.” When asked if African Americans were in view, he offered “The Sons of Noah” in reply.

Responding to KingdomExlcusion’s first article on the subject, Chitwood complained that he was describing Wilson’s views, not his own. “I didn’t go on and answer your question about my view on the matter,” he complained.

Editorial Note: Chitwood insisted that if his comments were published, the entire response be quoted, so here it is:

Mark:

As usual, in your latest attempt to do whatever it is that you are trying to do, you have all types of material in your latest article on your web site that has no basis in fact. But your misdirecting my statement above does need corrected on your part, since you are the one who made the mistake.

Note the pronoun in my statement — “his” — referring back to Wilson, not to me. All I did was comment on your statement concerning Wilson, since that had been the continuing subject of your previous inquiry. I didn’t go on and answer your question about my view on the matter.

The English language shouldn’t be twisted in this manner to drive a point home, else the point could easily be false, as it is in this case.

And it is false because I don’t even agree with a number of things wilson has in that chapter in his book, along with things here and there that he has elsewhere in the book. I was just the editor of the book, not the author.

Now, if you were to ask me what race of people today is under the curse in Gen. 9, I would take the matter no further than to tell you to find out who the descendants of Ham through his sons are today, and you will have that segment of society. I’m going to let you find that out for yourself so that you can’t do what you have already tried to do on your web site.

This will be the last communique with you on the matter. There are too many people out there who want to know the truth for me to waste time with those who don’t.

You can put this e-mail on your web site to correct what you have done if you like. But if you do, again, put the whole message out there.

ALC

First, it should be noted that Chitwood’s views were never solicited. The original inquiry pertained only to Wilson. Chitwood himself volunteered that “A. Edwin Wilson’s position, my position, and the position of anyone who takes the Bible at face value and believes it” was reflected in his comments about Gen. 9. Responding to a subsequent inquiry seeking clarification, Chitwood offered “The Sons of Noah” without qualification.

Second, none of the quotations from “The Sons of Noah” was attributed to Chitwood. It was only noted that Chitwood compiled and edited the book, and that he promoted it at LampBroadcast.org. (If these facts are disturbing, that can’t be helped.) Until the publication of these findings, an unabridged, electronic version of the book was offered by Chitwood at LampBroadcast.org.

Third, it should be noted that Chitwood continues to offer his views on the subject:

“Now, if you were to ask me what race of people today is under the curse in Gen. 9, I would take the matter no further than to tell you to find out who the descendants of Ham through his sons are today, and you will have that segment of society. I’m going to let you find that out for yourself so that you can’t do what you have already tried to do on your web site.”

Though Chitwood declines to state which people are in view, his published work indicates he believes a majority of Egyptians are under the curse. In “Focus on the Middle East” (p. 75), he identifies 90 percent of the population as “Hamitic.” His writings do not indicate which other groups fall under this designation.

Racially and culturally insensitive?

Chitwood regularly gives preference to offensive nomenclature. Egyptians, for example, do not call themselves “Hamitics.” Muslims, for another example, do not call themselves “Moslems;” Chitwood regularly prefers that spelling.

(“Moslem” is offensive to Muslims because, as commonly pronounced in English, it sounds like an Arabic word meaning “one who is evil and unjust” — see here for more.)

To persistently use terms which knowingly offend people is vulgar. It suggests utter disregard for their humanity.

The notion of a “Hamitic curse” is equally demeaning, yet Chitwood persists with this idea as well. Knowing its history (directly from Wilson, no less), Chitwood steadfastly defends the “Hamitic curse.” That he refuses to explain his position leaves his views open to debate.

Chitwood pulls controversial book from LampBroadcast.org

Arlen Chitwood has removed articles promoting race segregation from his website. His son, John Chitwood, indicated that A. Edwin Wilson’s controversial writings were removed last night because they had not been part of the “website proper for quite some time.” Copyrights on two pages were 1996 and 2006.

The content was not disavowed.

In an e-mail message, John Chitwood offered that he never heard his father or Wilson make racist statements; however, in “Sons of Noah,” Wilson wrote that the “hand of Satan” was behind the civil rights movement. He claimed blacks will remain under a curse until the millennial kingdom.

Chitwood, who compiled and edited the book, lauded the author as one “pre-eminently qualified to write on these subjects.”

A 1996 edition (third printing) is offered by Schoettle Publishing Company (website). The book has no apparent copyright.

See also: “Race hatred and the ‘Word of the Kingdom’

Race hatred and the “Word of the Kingdom”

Pastor round table on desegregation, 1954
Photo from Life magazine’s cover story on church desegregation, 1954.

Exclusionist circulates writings claiming blacks are under a curse

Arlen L. Chitwood, a leading exclusionist, edited and now promotes literature affirming segregation as a necessary component of the gospel. In reply to inquiries, Chitwood defended the writings of A. Edwin Wilson, his spiritual predecessor, arguing that the Hamitic curse, “of necessity, remains in effect today.” He added that it is “something which no one can get around, no matter how hard that person might try.”

The “Hamitic curse” is the antiquated theory that Africans are inferior and are condemned to “national” and “personal” servitude by God. The theory is based on interpretations of Genesis 9 (the curse of Canaan). In the 1800s, it was used to justify slavery, and in the 20th century, it was used to defend segregation.

Writing in the 1950s, Wilson wrote, “WHAT GOD HAS SEPARATED, LET NOT MAN INTEGRATE!” (emphasis in the original). His essays were collected and published under the title, Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, in the early 1980s. These include numerous denunciations of the civil rights movement.

An unabridged version is maintained by Chitwood, who edited the text, at LampBroadcast.org.[9. http://www.lampbroadcast.org/LAMPDOWN.HTML. Writing in the introduction, Chitwood stated, “The articles in this periodical covered a broad range of Biblical subjects and came from the pen of an individual who, through many years of prayer, study, and meditation upon the Scriptures, was pre-eminently qualified to write on these subjects.” — UPDATE: The material was pulled, see here.]

Wilson, whose ministry lasted between 1953 and 1970, objected to Billy Graham’s Life magazine article, entitled, “Billy Graham makes plea for an end to intolerance,” and subtitled, “Arguing that the Bible forbids segregation, evangelist calls for both love and justice” (Oct. 1, 1954).

In his response to the article, Wilson declared that “integration, of which we hear so much today, is an effort to take two or more parts and fuse them into one, to integrate the colored race and white race through marriage, amalgamation, and assimilation, and to reduce the two groups (colored and white) to one group. Anyone who knows God’s plan and purpose concerning the human race can see the hand of Satan behind all this.”[2. Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, chpt. 15, p. 3.]

The “Word of the Kingdom” and racial separation

Chitwood and the late A. Edwin Wilson are founders of the “Word of the Kingdom,” a dispensational teaching that maintains salvation is “conditional.”[1. Salvation of the Soul, by Arlen L. Chitwood, p. 13.] Central to the message of the “Word of the Kingdom” is that Christians have abandoned the Bible, and that fundamental truths are ignored.

Chitwood has gained a wide audience on the Internet, but his views and Wilson’s views on race are not broadly known. A popular online edition of Wilson’s writings, for example, contains a only redacted version of Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, omitting chapter 15.[3. RaptureReady.com.] Chitwood includes this chapter in the edition he offers at LampBroadcast.org.

After being notified that I was researching Wilson’s racial theories, Chitwood offered the following reply, printed here in its entirety. Emphasis is in the original.

Mark:

One can no more change that which is written in Gen. 9:25, 26b, 27b than he can change that which is written in Gen. 9:26a, 27a.

The curse connected with Gen. 9:25, 26b, 27b, of necessity, remains in effect today, will remain in effect until the Millennium, and will then pass out of existence (Zech. 14:21b).

The blessing connected with Gen. 9:26a, 27a, of necessity, remains in effect today, will remain in effect until the Millennium, and will then be realized in its fullness during the Millennium and throughout the endless ages following, never passing out of existence (Gen. 12:1-3; Ex. 4:22, 23 [and there is an entire O.T., plus a N.T., filled with verses which could be referenced to show that it “must” and “will” be this way, with the two references shown revealing “why” it must be this way]).

The preceding would reflect A. Edwin Wilson’s position, my position, and the position of anyone who takes the Bible at face value and believes it. The latter would have to be the case, for the preceding is simply what the Bible states — something which no one can get around, no matter how hard that person might try.

Now, if you put the preceding on your web site, I don’t particularly care. But, if you do, I want the whole of what I have written in the preceding four paragraphs quoted, exactly as I’ve written it. Also, do not reference me on this matter in any way on your web site unless you do as I’ve previously stated.

What you might think or say about what I’ve stated is immaterial. I could care less. But, if you are going to comment on the matter, I want it all out there, exactly as I’ve written it, so people can see what you are commenting on.

In fact, if this goes on your web site, put the whole of the previous out there — all six paragraphs.

ALC

Asked specifically if these comments pertained to “African Americans and the civil rights movement,” Chitwood answered, “You can derive that information from his book, the chapter titled, ‘The Sons of Noah,’ pp. 271-284.”

Race hatred and the American church

Slavery and segregation constitute dark chapters in the history of the American church. Though Christians were first to oppose slavery on biblical grounds, the Bible was used by other churchmen to promote bondage and servitude. Proslavery ministers appealed to the “Hamitic curse,” gaining a wide and vociferous audience. So strong was opposition to abolitionism that in the early 1800s Congress outlawed the transmission of anti-slavery materials by mail.[5. Read All on Fire for background] Abolitionists were cut off, and mobs silenced them further. Still, Christian abolitionists prevailed upon the consciousness of America.

The cost, however, was inordinate.

Between 500,000 and 650,000 Americans died in the Civil War, a war would not have occurred except for slavery. The continuation of race hatred in the 20th century added to the number of the dead. Thousands of blacks were lynched, almost always with impunity. When Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to the White House, segregationists called even for the lynching of the president! His anti-lynch law was never considered by Congress.

The Civil Rights movement, occurring nearly a century after the Civil War, signified remarkable change. Equality became the dominant issue, and ministers could not remain silent. Some, like Billy Graham, called for an end to segregation (his own crusades were desegregated); others, like A. Edwin Wilson, called for its continuation.

The “Word of the Kingdom” and practical implications

There is no evidence that Wilson sanctioned violence against blacks; however, his theories contributed to the violence by giving justification to segregation. He even advocated the subjugation of African Americans, writing, “[The Hamitic] curse also involved general inferiority of the Hamitic race, and a special condemnation to the lowest degree of servitude. This curse consigns the Hamitic race to a position of national and personal servitude until the time of restitution of all things (Zech. 14:21),” emphasis mine.[6. Page 4 of chapter 15.]

Wilson scoffed at the notion that people are created equal under the law and before God. “Are all people born equal? According to the Word of God they are not.”[7. Page 11 of chapter 15.] Here, he parodies Jefferson’s “all men are created equal” by assuming equality means sameness in physical being, social position and intellectual capacity. He deliberately ignores the significance of the clause, that all people are equal before God in the legal sense. Scripturally, the equality of persons could not be more certain: “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality,” (Romans 2:10-11).

Wilson’s views are so utterly deplorable, one wonders why Chitwood so voraciously defends them. How is such a teaching to be implemented? Must churches segregate? Must interracial couples divorce? What of the offspring of interracial marriages? Are they half-cursed, half-blessed? Chitwood offers no answers, no qualifications. Instead, he boldly defends “Sons of Noah,” asserting that it is “the position of anyone who takes the Bible at face value.”

Such vulgarity deserves absolute censure. It is entirely deplorable.

—————-

What saith Chitwood? What saith the Bible?

Arlen L. Chitwood insists that for every New Testament idea, there is a corresponding Old Testament idea, exact in detail and operation. This method yields strange results, often absent any explicit scriptural support. Employing this strategy, he argues that the body of the risen Jesus did not (and does not today) contain blood. What saith the Bible?

“See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39).

By “flesh” one would presume muscle and blood. Chitwood would have us believe the disciples understood otherwise. Why they would believe Jesus’s resurrected body contained no blood is not explained, nor is any explicit scriptural reference given. Nor does the New Testament say Jesus rose physically without blood. (The Bible might have mentioned this if it were so.) Yet Chitwood insists.

Christ was raised in a spiritual body rather than a natural [soulical] body [cf. I Cor. 15:42-44]. He was raised in a body of flesh and bones, with the life-giving, animating principle of the body being the Spirit of God rather than the blood [which He had previously “poured out” (Isa. 53:12)]. — Salvation of the Soul, p. 64

It is perhaps helpful that Chitwood provides scriptural references, but do those passages support his interpretation of the resurrection?

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. — I Cor. 15:42-44, ESV

The “natural” body and “spiritual” body are indeed mentioned, but not the “soulical” body Chitwood envisions. By “soulical,” he means a person who is governed by carnal nature, who is in darkness, who is unredeemed (this is the language he employs).

“The ‘soul’ remains within the sphere of darkness, which is why ‘the natural [Gk. psuchikos, ‘soulical’] man’ cannot understand ‘the things of the Spirit of God’ (I Cor. 2:14). That which remains in the sphere of darkness can have no apprehension or comprehension of that which has shined out of darkness. There is a God-established division between the two which cannot be crossed over (cf. Luke 16:26)” (“Eternal Salvation” — link).

It is difficult to comprehend that Jesus ever possessed a “soulical” body. Darkness? John 1:4 (cf. Matt. 4:16) says Jesus was light. Unredeemed? Carnal? Jesus possessed a nature that warred against God? One aspect of his being did not understand the things of God? How can these things be?

As for the claim that the risen body of Christ contained no blood, Chitwood offers a passage in Isaiah as evidence:

“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” — Isa. 53:12, KJV

Problematically, blood is not mentioned. Rather, it is his “soul” that was poured out. Following Chitwood’s logic, Jesus rose without a soul, not a body absent blood. (The reader is well advised to examine for themselves each of Chitwood’s scriptural references.) Nowhere does it say that Jesus’s risen body contained no blood because it was poured out.

Yet there is another consideration: the so-called “Word of the Kingdom.”

In order to properly understand the Bible, one must accept what Chitwood calls the “Word of the Kingdom.”[1. This phrase is employed variously by Christians and churches; one should not assume it is unique to Chitwood and his teaching. For research purposes, Chitwood’s theology is classified as “kingdom exclusion,” as it is a term commonly employed by advocates of this variety of thought.] One must find and divine types and anti-types in the scriptures. Explains Chitwood: “type and antitype must agree in exact detail” (Salvation of the Soul, p. 46). Problematically, one must first interpret “type and antitype” — a point Chitwood is reluctant to admit.

(Essentially, type/antitype refers to an allegorical method of interpretation. For example in Romans 5:14, Paul says Jesus was a “type” of Adam, describing that by one man’s sin, sin entered the world affecting all; conversely, by one man’s death, grace entered the world. In other words, Jesus is like Adam, but only in the sense that his actions affect everyone. Otherewise, they are very different: Adam is a created being, Jesus uncreated; Adam yielded to temptation, Jesus could not, etc. Not everything in the Old Testament is a type of something in the New Testament — the latter would have to be much longer to include every such type — but Chitwood insists that everything in the OT should be regarded as a type of something in the NT. For every OT type, there is a NT antitype. Why this must be is never explained scripturally: none of the NT writers insisted on it.)

Describing the fall of man, Chitwood writes, “The established pattern (type) relative to the restoration of a ruined creation is set in the first chapter of Genesis. Once God establishes a pattern of this nature, no change can ever occur. The restoration of any subsequent ruined creation must occur in exact accord with the established pattern. Thus, God’s work in the restoration of fallen man today — a subsequent ruined creation — must follow the established pattern, in exact detail” (Salvation of the Soul, p. 47).

This radical method of interpretation is never defended scripturally; he simply insists it’s valid. Thus, despite that the Bible never says Jesus rose physically without blood, Chitwood concludes it must mean to say that. His logic is as follows:

Christ is ministering today in the antitype of Aaron, on the basis of His shed blood on the mercy seat, on behalf of Christians who sin. The sins committed by Christians are forgiven through confession of these sins on the basis of the shed blood of Christ which “cleanseth [‘keeps on cleansing’] us from all sin.”

The reason Jesus couldn’t have risen bodily with blood is that the blood must be on the mercy seat, or else Christians could not receive the salvation of their souls (i.e. the forgiveness of sins after ones conversion). This is an extraordinarily literal and materialistic[8. By “materialistic” I mean a kind of forced literalism. For example, when it says that Jesus sits at the right hand of God, one should not presume that God has a right hand or body, but that the expression is metaphorical; otherwise, one will begin to attribute qualities to God that are expressly forbidden.] interpretation; the damage it does is enormous.

If Jesus literally and physically poured his blood on the mercy seat which is in heaven, how and when did he do it? When he appeared to his disciples declaring that he was “flesh and bones,” he had not yet ascended (cf. John 20:27). If the blood was not in Jesus’ body at that moment, and he had not yet ascended, where was the blood kept? If all this sounds ridiculous, that’s the point. The mercy seat is only mentioned once in the New Testament, and nothing is said about Jesus pouring his blood out on it (cf. Heb. 9:5). Second, supposing even that the Bible did make this point, should such a description be taken literally? When the scriptures talk about Jesus sitting at the right hand of the father, is it that God literally has hands? No, such a rendering of the text would be materialistic, i.e. forced literalism.

Yet because Chitwood insists the antitype (Jesus shedding his blood for sins) must correspond exactly to the type (Aaron offering the blood upon the mercy seat annually), one has to accept that Jesus ascended without blood because the blood was on the mercy seat. No scriptural evidence is necessary. It simply is so because that is what is taught in the “Word of the Kingdom.”

Thus, Chitwood teaches that Jesus is currently serving as a priest, and that Christians receive forgiveness of sins, not because of the finished work of Christ, but as Jesus is making a “continuous cleansing for Christians” with the shed blood on the mercy seat (Salvation of the Soul, p. 40). Christians now receive forgiveness by confessing their sins (ibid.).

The problem with Chitwood’s typology — in this instance, the claim just as Aaron made blood sacrifices, Jesus is making a “continuous cleansing” — is that the very text he relies on forbids that interpretation. The scriptures teach quite the opposite. Blood sacrifice in the ancient times had no power to save; it had to be repeated annually; and, the high priest had to make a sacrifice even for himself. Jesus’ blood saves eternally and was offered once (not continuously); further, he did not have to atone for his own sins (he was perfect — not soulical).

What saith the Bible? Does the antitype exactly match the type?

  • “Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these” (Heb. 9:23).
  • “Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb. 9:25-28).

Even if Chitwood is not saying the Jesus continually offers his blood on the mercy seat (he seems to want to avoid this conclusion), the point is that his claim that “type and antitype must agree in exact detail” is utterly false. According to Hebrews, they don’t agree at all.

Chitwood, who rails against the Christian church for allegedly ignoring the truth of the “Word of the Kingdom” (so-called), so distances himself from orthodoxy that he systematically alters the meaning of every scripture. Whereas Paul concludes that salvation is entirely apart from works, Chitwood strangely concludes that some aspects of redemption are indeed “conditional” — and he insists he’s only preaching what the Bible says.

Followers of Chitwood’s teaching would do well to ask, “What saith the Bible?”

Is it possible to read Revelation literally?

literal (adj.) — in accordance with, involving, or being the primary or strict meaning of the word or words; not figurative or metaphorical: the literal meaning of a word (resource)

When Christians talk about reading Revelation literally, what do they mean? Is John the Revelator literally addressing seven contemporary churches (circa 90 A.D.), or is he addressing the church today? I have always considered that John was speaking to his contemporaries, but I also maintain that Revelation is for the church today. However, I believe it must be read figuratively in many places.

Nearly all kingdom exclusionists hold that Revelation should be interpreted literally, but what is meant by that varies.

Some insist upon a literal reading of all passages. For example, J.D. Faust maintains that a “sharp two-edged sword” actually comes out of the mouth of Jesus (cf. Rev. 1:16 and elsewhere). “After the judgment seat, the fiery sword of the Lord’s mouth will judge Christians that have lived unfaithfully and have not repented in this life.”[1. The Rod: Will God Spare It?, p. 148, emphasis Faust’s)] Should the reader really understand that a “sharp two-edged sword” actually proceeds from Christ’s mouth? Is not that reading forced?

Others indicate that Revelation should be understood literally and figuratively in some places, but figuratively in other places. For example, Arlen L. Chitwood maintains that the church of Laodicea was literally a church in a physical locality, but that we must also accept “the Laodicean Church of today” as a true, spiritual (i.e. figurative?) entity.[2. Judgment Seat of Christ, http://www.lampbroadcast.org/JSOC11.html.] In other places, no literal meaning is to be accepted. For example, Chitwood maintains that Christians will suffer the hurt of the second death, but not literally. In a reply to an e-mail inquiry, Chitwood explains, “Where Scripture uses metaphors, I’ve remained within that framework.” He adds, “Christians being cast into outer darkness, Gehenna, a furnace of fire, or the lake of fire, are simply four different ways Scripture uses to point to the same thing, using four literal things in metaphorical senses.”[3. Between May and June of 2008, I posed several questions to Chitwood by e-mail, and we maintained a brief correspondence on the subject.] Unfortunately, he does not explain what will literally happen to so-called carnal Christians at the judgment seat of Christ. Perhaps, nothing will happen.[4. In his published writings, posted at LampBroadcast.org, he makes no mention of the things he confessed in his e-mail. When I pointed out that most of the followers of his teaching believe Christians will be literally cast into the lake of fire, he discontinued our correspondence. His followers, such as John Herbert, a pastor at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, teaches, “Those Christians denied a position with Christ in His kingdom, because of the choices they will have made during their Christian life, will find themselves outside of the heavenly city, separated from the Light, in the lake of fire for the duration of the Millennial Kingdom” (http://www.cornerstonejacksonville.com/files/messagenotes/2005-11-06_matthew13_12.pdf). A similar view is held by another Cornerstone fellowship in Los Gatos, California. Adapting notes from Herbert’s outlines, Jeanne Alley presents the following: “And if we choose not to heed this warning, the consequence are given in – Revelation 21:8 ‘But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.'” In this instance, she is not speaking of the unsaved, but “ourselves here in the local body” (http://www.cornerstonelosgatos.com/EphesiansPartEight.php — opens as a PDF).]

If anything, Revelation should be read comprehensibly, should it not?

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